Stop Googling your new medications.

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I’ve heard a surprising number of people tell me they are really worried about their medications side effects, so they read them all before deciding whether or not to go on them. I get the idea, it’s important to be informed, but it can be a dangerous habit to get into. Let me explain:

I understand the dangers of bad side effects, one medication we tried for my bipolar disorder made me suicidal, another one that is perfectly safe for 99.99% of adults caused an abnormal cluster of cells in my brain after I had been on it for a number of years (they went away when I went off the medication). So, I get it, medications can do some terrible things to your body, but a lot of us need medicine, whether for our mental health or for our physical health. That medicine is essential to keeping you alive or living a life worth living. It’s scary to look at all the terrible things that could happen, but it’s also scary to think of all the things that would happen without it.

The thing is side effects aren’t always the norm. Everyone has medications effect them differently. I know people who are on the pill that made me suicidal and it was the one that cured their depression. It’s really a toss up whether or not you’ll have a good or bad reaction, but one thing is for sure, you’ll never know till you try.

Also medications are required by law to record all side-effects. If two people out of 100,000 experienced something that can be directly linked to the medication, it has to be listed. That’s normally the case for those big scary side-effects. Our medications have to be approved by a board, if the terrible side-effects were standard for the drug, it wouldn’t be approved. It really is that simple. Why do you think male birth control wasn’t passed? It wasn’t because it made men have period like pain, it was because it was making a significant number of them sterile.

Another thing? The placebo effect works in reverse. If you read a lot of bad side-effects, you’re brain can create them where they don’t exist. That’s right, you can cause yourself pain by simply being afraid of pain.

Obviously you want to discuss with your doctor if this is the best pill for you or if there would be one better. Have honest talks about what health problems you already have and if you have any fears. And after you start a new medication you want to pay close attention to your body and note any changes. If there are any changes, you need to ask if they could have been caused by the new medication. Sometimes they are sometimes they aren’t, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t scare yourself by reading the long lists of side-effects, it normally will do you more harm than good.

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